Eradicate the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Now

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I-A needs to move from the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to at least a 16 game playoff to determine an undisputed national champion. The current BCS system does not resolve the national champion in a way that is truly equitable for all schools and leaves many (if not most) sports fans feeling that the ultimate national champion is not unquestionably the national champion. Under the current BCS system, the elite powers in college athletics receive an automatic assurance that they will be in the national championship game. Unfortunately, schools like Utah and Boise State, who have played competitive schedules and went undefeated, do not even have a chance to be in the national championship game. Although the BCS structure has been reformed to allow opportunities for non-elite schools to have a chance to win the national championship, the chance that they have is still tremendously more difficult than it is for the elite schools.

I would be fine with almost any playoff system that the NCAA would decide to go to, because anything is better than what we have now. To be frank, I liked the system of allowing the AP and coaches to determine the national champion. Why? The only reason that I say this is it was a better system than what we have in place now. This is not the system that I advocate for, but going back to it to temporarily replace the BCS would be an incredibly great thing for NCAA Division I-A football. If college presidents and chancellors are not willing to reform the current system for their colleges and universities, then they should at least do it for their student-athletes who work so hard to generate the millions and millions of dollars for them each year—in a multi-billion dollar industry.

Unfortunately, it is the college and university presidents and chancellors who do not want to move to a playoff system. The only time that I really hear them expressing their concern for the student-athletes’ academic achievement is when it comes to moving to a playoff system. The majority of the presidents and chancellors are only interested in the money that football and basketball players’ athletic prowess can generate for them. They are not really concerned about their educational experiences and outcomes.

I will be glad when student-athletes begin to stand up against the egregious exploitation they experience as participants in NCAA Division I.  I think that they are can play a vital role in helping us to achieve a playoff system, because they can expose college presidents and chancellors for their true lack of concern about their academic achievement. When they publicly promulgate their dissatisfaction with the extant commitment to their educational experiences and outcomes, I contend that the BCS will be well on its way to the graveyard: The BCS will no longer be able to hide behind the false cover of protecting its commitment to the academic achievement of student-athletes.

While I certainly have my disagreements with President Obama, we both agree that a playoff system is needed to replace the BCS. Can you just imagine what a playoff system in NCAA Division I-A would be like?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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5 comments

  1. Wow. It’s that time of year again! Let me play Devil’s Advocate..

    I surely agree with you on one point – The BCS system isn’t fair to all teams. But, I think the 16 game playoff is unfair to players.

    The students still have academics to worry about, and at best, it would take an extra month (4 weeks) to playoff. If you tried to play more than one game a week, I believe there would be a lot of tired players – and tired players would be prone to injury along with losing more time in the classroom.

    And, how are you going to determine the top 16? Will that selection be fair? Wouldn’t you have to start with the top team from every conference? Will that selection be the BCS system? And another question, do the weaker conferences really belong in the playoffs?

    I don’t like the BCS system, but I can’t see a way that can fairly play all the teams into a championship playoff in a decent amount of time and allow the players to also compete academically.

    1. Hey, Goose! Yes, all of your points are tremendously important to consider and valid. They have playoff systems in Division II that work, in NCAA Division I college basketball that works, in NCAA Division III that works, and even in NCAA Division I football that works (in what was formerly called NCAA Division I-AA.) What’s wrong with using one of those playoff systems? Yes, no system will be perfect or fair. They can also eliminate all non-conference games and conference championship games (if necessary) to accommodate a playoff system, which would not have student-athletes to have to spend four more weeks in intercollegiate athletics play. It works for all other Divisions and sports. All sports and Divisions have rankings that are biased but at least more teams (including the Utahs and Boise States of the world) would have a greater opportunity to play in the national championship game. You’re right–maybe the Utahs and Boise States don’t deserve to play in the national championship game, but I would like the coaches poll and sports writers poll to pick the Top 16, which has been a tradition. They will have the 16 game playoff in mind when choosing those Top 16 teams. It want be perfect but I think it would be an improvement from the BCS, which leaves two very good undefeated teams at the conclusion of the football season many times. Very good questions and your response is quite thought-provoking. I still have to think about this one, but this is my short-term response. Excellent!

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